Ian Manger, Jay Pearson, Richard Winegar and Lynne Gilfillan, “Tools for planning and coordinating development of medical countermeasures in the public sector.” Drug Development Research, Special Issue: Biodefense Countermeasure Development, Volume 70, Issue 4, pages 327–334, June 2009
In spite of significant increases in biodefense spending in the 7 years since the 2001 anthrax attacks, the United States may not yet be fully prepared to respond effectively to many potential biothreats. The principal reasons appear to be that: (1) the problem is extremely complex, and the metrics for success are often unclear; (2) although the US Congress has allocated substantial resources for this effort, these funds are insufficient for the task as initially conceived, i.e., “one drug for each bug;” and (3) there is insufficient coordination among the many agencies working to achieve the goal of protecting the nation from biothreats. In the last few years, much of the biodefense community has come to recognize that an approach that focuses on developing and stockpiling a medical countermeasure (MCM) for each possible biothreat agent is unachievable for reasons of cost, time, and the sheer diversity of emerging threats. Promising alternative models are emerging, including broad spectrum and technology platform approaches, but the requisite cross-agency planning and coordination, although improving, is still problematic. We have developed a set of software tools and methods for using them that could support the desired coordination and that could also provide for more rapid, comprehensive, and shared identification of key enabling technologies for accomplishing the development of effective medical countermeasures in time to counter or prevent a biothreat. The tools and methods could also make possible a collaborative public-private partnership for the development of MCM, which many believe is critical to success. Drug Dev Res 70:327–334, 2009 © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.